December 19, 2013 BY Sneaker News / 9
It was not many years ago that Asics retros were rather sparse over here in the US. The archived silhouettes were only available at a handful of accounts, with Asia and Europe getting to have all the fun for themselves outside of the sporadic collaborations that would trickle over into the States. In 2013, tracking down a pair of Gels or other Asics classics is thankfully a lot easier, and as a result, the shoes have become a bigger player in the market and the success has now led to even more treasures being brought back from the archives. Like some of their peers, they’ve figured out how to successfully use special projects and respected partners to build buzz for their general releases and lucky for us, both ends were clicking on all cylinders over the past year.
Most of their biggest hits from 2013 reflect that the collab stronghold is still going strong, but there were more and more inline pairs starting to pique interests as well. Ronnie Fieg remains one the biggest contributors to the collaboration circuit, but all of a sudden he’s not the only American cranking out his own designs. Extra Butter, Concepts, Saint Alfred, and others also got in on the action, but the Asics team was plenty busy themselves whether it was resurrecting tasty models from the ’90s or whipping up tempting in-house colorways. The brand has always been a powerhouse in the performance market, but this year proved that they’re finally committed to going all out on the retro end as well.
Bruce Lee by way of Kill Bill, blood splatter and all. The Asics team knocked this pair out of the park, for one of the most coveted general releases in recent memory.
Ronnie Fieg raised the stakes with a dual-runner release spread out across New York and Miami. Dubbed the East Coast Project, the Gel Lyte III tied in some local sports flavor with Knicks and Dolphins color combos.
Lakeshore sneakers from one of Chicago’s finest. This split tongue beauty featured a crisp, watery suede up top met by a sandy uni-color midsole down below.
Ronnie came with another pair of Gels before the Summer expired – this one dipped in a sublime grey and pink colorway and kitted out with his signature rope laces.
Concepts is no stranger to the collab scene, but they had somehow never done a shoe with Asics. When the day finally arrived, the shop drew on their Boston locale, crafting a Asics Gel Lyte III inspired by John Harvard’s “Three Lies” statue.
The Asics retro range expanded at long last as this 1993 favorite entered into the fray. 20 years after its original run, the Gel Lyte V made its glorious return in original and new colorways and even popped up via some collabs.
You should know by now about BAIT’s tenure with the Asics team. This time around, they dropped a beautiful Gel Saga banger in what was an otherwise quiet year for the classic silhouette.
Its return may have been overshadowed by the Gel Lyte V, but if you were looking for more split-tongue Gels in 2013, this was the ticket. Just as Cool as they were back in 1991.
The Extra Butter team is never one to shy away from a concept-heavy collab. For 2013, they embarked on the “Death List 5” project inspired by the popular Kill Bill films with the Volume 1 installments in October and the second batch beginning to arrive toward year’s end.
Something old and something new. Hardcore Gel fans were rewarded with the Kayano Anniversary pack, which connected the dots between two decades of Asics runners in one supreme box set.
No one was happier to see the Gel Lyte V come back than Ronnie Fieg. A killer combo of fiery tones and supple materials on this “Volcano” colorway proved to be one of his all time best and helped the GLV erupt in popularity.
Now this is how you do an in-house sneaker pack right. Instantly recognizable theme, three different colorways, classic models – the Asics squad definitely spread some holiday cheer with this trio of festive Gel favorites.